Tuesday, September 08, 2009

9 to 5, the Musical

"9 to 5, The Musical" September 4, 2009 at the Marquis Theatre

Another screen-to-stage adaptation, but using the original screenwriter Patricia Resnick, along with Dolly Parton adding music and lyrics from the 1980 film's title song to flush out the rest of the score.

It's a high energy event, but never seems to find the reason why it was adapted to the stage. Ms. Resnick's book hews close to the original, forcing in a love interest for Violet (Allison Janney) in the form of a junior accountant, adding little to the proceedings.

Ms. Janney, along with Megan Hilty in Dolly's role of Doralee Rhodes and Stephani J. Block as Judy Bernly have a grand time with the flimsy material and forgettable score. Ms. Janney is certainly no singer, but gives Violet what she can. Ms. Hilty and Ms. Block are much more musically successful in their own efforts. Mark Kudisch's Franklin Hart, Jr. is greasy enough to slide across the stage without a shove. (I never realized just how bowlegged he is! He'd be two inches taller if he could put his knees together.)

Scott Pask's sets are a bit overblown, particularly late in the second act when Hart's house becomes a paneled McMansion, even though there have been several scenes in the house already without this bit of scenery. William Ivey Long held true to the period, practically reproducing from the original film.

Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography was frenetic and, surprisingly, sloppy given that the show had been running some 5 months. Director Joe Mantello wasn't able to pull much order out of the weak elements he was given, despite a talented cast.

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